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16 to 18 Cubic Foot Roof Top Cargo Box for a 2017 Subaru Outback Wagon with Factory Roof Rack System

Question:

I am looking for a roof cargo system that will fit my factory adjustable cross bars on my 2017 Subaru Outback. Something in the 16 to 18 cubic feet range. I’m having trouble finding if anything will without question fit the vehicle.

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Expert Reply:

The primary measurement you'll want to take on your 2017 Subaru Outback Wagon is the distance from the center of your front crossbar to the rear of the vehicle where the roof meets the hatch. This is your maximum clearance, and any box you buy will have to have a minimum clearance of less than this amount.

Going over this clearance means that you won't be able to use your rear hatch or not open it completely while the box is installed

You can maximize your clearance by putting the bars at their recommended spread of 30 inches as far forward as you can get them on your vehicle then taking this measurement. A little research shows that this clearance normally is about 52 inches.

I've included a link to our selection of 16 to 18 cubic feet boxes, which we consider the "large" size. Roof boxes tend to come in series by name, and share features across all boxes in the series, while the only difference tends to be the size of the box.

There are a few that are good starting points that I recommend taking a closer look at.

The Thule Motion XT series, part # TH629706 for the 16 cubic foot version and part # TH629806 for the 18 cubic foot version, features a modern design with bold lines and a striking look to add to your 2017 Subaru Outback Wagon. These boxes feature dual side access, an automatic locking system that locks on close and power click clamps. These clamps let you install and "remember" a quick setting to get the box installed as quickly as possible, saving time and energy when you mount the box. The 16 cubic foot version requires 47-1/2 inches of front clearance, and the larger 18 cubic foot only requires 51-1/4 inches of clearance, giving you a very good chance of fitting to your vehicle.

You also have a wide range of fits available with Yakima's SkyBox, Rocket Box and ShowCase series, all requiring less than 57 inches of clearance to use on your vehicle.

In the range you're looking for, Yakima has the Skybox 16, part # Y07335 and the SkyBox 18, part # Y07336. Both are great boxes that include dual side access, keyed alike locks and a tapered rear tail, giving better rear hatch clearance. The SkyBox 16 requires 52 inches of front clearance while the 18 requires the full 57 inches of clearance.

Of note, the SkyBox 18 is custom designed for carrying skis up to 83 Inches (210 Centimeters) long laying straight in the box, a useful feature depending on how you intend to use the boxes.

I've included video reviews of both of these boxes so you can get more familiar with their features and performance on our test course.

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